By: Lauren Perrodin

U.S. diversity levels are growing more every day. Places like Los Angeles, New York City and Miami are no longer the only “melting pot” cities as residents of these metropolitan hubs are moving across the states. According to the United States Census Bureau, 62% of people speak Spanish in the U.S. or approximately 41,700,000 people. English-only speakers also rose to one-fourth of the population from 187.2 million to 241 million in 2019.

Being bilingual in Spanish and English is a growing need in all sectors, especially in legal, medical and education. We’ll chat through what it means to be an interpreter and if this is the career for you.

Unlock your potential as an Interpreter

UCR University Extension offers interpretation tracks for court, medical and community settings.

Translation instructor at UCR University Extension, Jesus Oliva-Barron, MD, teaches several courses in the certificate program, and notes that by the end of your courses you’ll be able to “interpret accurately without omitting, adding or changing the meaning of what has been said. You’ll learn how to manage a session. And you’ll learn the terminology in the specific area of choice.”

Curious about which field you’d like to get into after you earn the certificate? Let’s break them down.

Court Interpretation

Professional interpreters in legal settings will present themselves in court to represent a Spanish speaker. You’ll be able to assist the Spanish speaker with translation throughout their court appearance, easing the stress of understanding the proceedings.

If the legal system has always been an interesting sector for you, interpreting in court settings could be a great avenue. You can be involved in arraignments, preliminary hearings, pre-trial conferences and court trials on a full-time or part-time basis.

Medical Interpretation

Medical interpreting service professionals support patients and their families with communication between providers based on federal and state requirements. Interpreting professionally can be done face-to-face, over the phone or through video conference.

You may be tasked with interpreting medical procedures, diagnostic information, or medical education and instructions between patients, clients, providers and clinical staff. You’ll have the chance to clarify medical terms and verify information for the patient’s benefit. In some instances, you may be an interpreter for the medical staff as well to inform them of a patient’s needs, culturally-specific values and practices.

Community Interpretation

In this sector, you will be working with parents and guardians of children in Spanish-speaking homes. While the children will likely have English-speaking educators, the guardians may not have had much exposure to English, you’ll be able to support the guardians in these settings.

In this role, you will likely attend meetings, parent conferences and school events to provide translation in real time. Additionally, you’ll need to translate important documents such as Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), behavior plans, parent letters, informational letters, presentations and so on.

Is This Career Right for You?

The prerequisites for this professional certificate at UCR University Extension require 15.50 units of classes, and then an additional eight units for medical and community interpretation specialization or four additional units for court interpretation specialization. Before you enroll in these courses, you’ll have to register and pass a qualifying admissions exam.

To get started, enroll today.